Down And Dirty – The Kitakyuushuu 10

Read Kyle Sanchez every Thursday... at StarCityGames.com!
Today’s Down And Dirty sees Kyle tackle ten points of Magic miscellany that have tickled he fancy this past week. He questions the validity of to amateur prizes in Grand Prix tournaments, brings us the truth about Kenji’s vicious powers of mental domination, and shares a Blue/Green deck that could make quite a splash in the new Standard metagame…

Here at Down And Dirty we try hard to keep your pickles tickled and your underage sisters out past curfew. But sometimes it takes more to make a ship run than some rubber bands and a bucket of screws, and it’s because of this that I’d like to ask for donations to relive the childhood that I never had on a trip to Disney World. These donations won’t just mean that you’ll get to read about my epic journey to DW (dubbya), but you’ll also be sent a custom-made-revolutionary-generic-white T-shirt with my hand print in various colors of paint on the front. With (and only with) this shirt, will you be able to gain entry into the Sanchez Club, which will take place at each and every major event I attend, where you’ll not only get to see me, but also get to converse with me in between rounds!

Yes, yes, I know… but there’s more!

You’ll also get a trade paperback copy of a comic I wrote during my depression, entitled “Symbiotic Sanchez.” A tale of a poor curly-headed boy who bathed in radioactive material and now has the ability to spawn copies of himself in the blink of an eye. The true controversy of this far-fetched tale is that my girlfriend is an African. Will he conquer the World? Will he use his symbiotic powers for good? Will he find his long lost love Scarlett Johanon and turn his back on his African queen to have messy symbiotic intercourse with the voluptuous movie star? You’ll have to donate to find out!

Now I know exactly what you’re thinking…

“Hey Sanchez… can’t you spice up the deal a little bit?”

Of course I can!


If you donate now you’ll also receive a voucher for a free Guildpact booster, wiped through PTR’s backside for seasoning, which you can claim at a Sanchez Club near you!

So donate now!

Click HERE to make a secured donation.

10. U/G TarmoFoot

So this doesn’t exactly have anything to do with Kitagkyhuahshuu, but I’ve been tearing up MWS with it lately, boasting a near undefeated streak that began last Saturday. It’s basically an update of Ben Lundquist format-defining block deck that wrecked shop at GP: Montreal and San Fransisco, as well as nearly every MTGO PE at the time.

If all goes according to plan you can max out Tarmogoyf at 8/9, assuming they have targets for your Seal of Primordium after board, and it can be done as early as turn 5. No joke, I actually did it… my opponent said he “crapped his pants.” One of the key advantages about upgrading this deck to Standard is for Faerie Trickery and Phyrexian Ironfoot, since they both provide two card types each for Tarmo to chew on, making a much quicker and more aggressive Goyf. Psionic Blast is another card that is extremely useful in the archetype, since it plugs up a lot of the holes that can be troublesome, like Wort, Lighting Angel, opposing Ironfeet, and most notably Planeswalkers.

The choices that you have when you’re playing are surprisingly difficult to make. One side of the deck is a nice little creature package with high power and toughness ratios to their mana cost in Tarmogoyf and Phyrexian Ironfoot. The other side of the deck is a nice permission strategy with counters lining the curve all the way up to the four-slot, where Venser and Cryptic Command share the honors.

Ponder is a card that has been surprisingly effective during testing. Being able to set up a Looter draw, or simply drawing the best card of the three then shuffling them away with Terramorphic Expanse really does a lot.

The Green, if you’ve noticed, is only there for the pricey premium rares of Garruck and Tarmogoyf, along with Treetop Village, giving them a completely new job to fill. Tarmogoyf has been seen used in heavy control style decks, like those of Patrick Chapin, just for being a cheap huge guy who can clog up the ground and swing for the win at the same time, but Garruck hasn’t been used quite like this before. Most decks with Garruck in them are either using him for his mana ramp to power out fatties with Fertile Ground, or in a primarily creature deck to abuse his Overrun ability. This deck, however, focuses on the three Beast tokens he provides for no cost on the following turns. Being able to put creatures into play without actually tapping any mana is pretty absurd when you have enough counters to back them up to victory.

When I first made this deck, it was Mono-Blue splashing for Treetop Village, based on awesomeness alone. The problem was that I had to actually run other Green sources to activate it. Goyf n’ Garruk followed soon after. The real goal was to make a Blue-based control deck that kills with Treetop Village, and it sort of evolved into this aggro/control deck. I honestly wish that Treetop Village cost Blue to activate though. Green cards are awful. There, I said it… come get some, Wakefield.

In testing, some of the problems that I’ve had have mostly been with some of the tribal based decks like UW Merfolk, RB Goblins, or GB Elves. All three decks have the potential to swarm UG before it gets its feet set. GB Elves is particularly difficult, which is what Evacuation in the sideboard is for. To be honest, the sideboard is more of a hodge-podge of good cards (much like the main deck) that don’t really work for any centric strategy like some of the other decks in the format, which might be its downfall. While all these cards are dominating and awesome in their own right, they don’t seem to really mesh together like Teachings, GB Elves, or Tarmo Rack. But the overall power of the deck will usually make up for it, since it implements a basic strategy of “play big dudes and counter everything” that messes with your path to victory.

The sideboard is just a hodge-podge of good cards that I could see myself needing in various matchups. I haven’t really tested it much, but I do know that Evacuation completely destroys the deck’s problem matchups like Goblins or Elves, which gives you enough time to setup a lethal Garruk Overrun, and takes away enough blockers to make the cheap threats deadly.

Razormane Masticore also seems to be in a sweet spot for this format. He’s too big to burn, can’t be killed by Shriekmaw, and can First Strike over just about any monster while shooting down opposing dudes in the process. Serrated Arrows is to obtain Goyf advantage as well as dealing with Shadowmage Infiltraitors quite handily. It really shines in the Mannequin matchup, which can get pretty hairy if they have a quick start.

I’ve been toying with the idea of adding Oblivion Ring to the deck by taking out Command and Masticore. It would give you the mystical 8th card type to max Goyf out game 1, and it gives you an all purpose answer to anything the could have, along with a small synergy with Venser, giving you the ability to play the Ring, put the trigger on the stack, then Venser it back to your hand. This removes the creature forever, and you’ll still have O-Ring in hand.

9. Akira Asahara Limited Master?

While everyone knows Akira’s brilliant accomplishments in the 60-card world, few know of his success as a Limited Master. He was seen drafting this little number to a 1-0-2 record; sealing his seat in the Top 8.

9 Island
7 Mountain
2 Adder-Staff Boggart
1 Inkfathom Divers
1 Paperfin Rascal
2 Ringskipper
1 Sentinels of Glen Elendra
2 Silvergill Douser
1 Sower of Temptation
1 Streambed Aquitects
1 Tar Pitcher
1 Broken Ambitions
1 Consuming Bonfire
1 Lash Out
2 Ponder
3 Rebellion of the Flamekin
3 Whirlpool Whelm

Click on Rebellion of the Flamekin.

Now count the number of cards with Clash.

Yeah, makes my head hurt too.

8. Cheon A Test Tube Baby? (continued from last week)

After some research into Cheon’s dark past I’ve come to the conclusion that he is not, in fact, a test tube baby. However, there is still no evidence that this isn’t true… I’m just giving him the benefit of the doubt. Plus the kiddies love Cheon, and this scandal would no doubt hurt his reputation in the eyes of his followers. For this reason I’ve chosen to abandon my quest for the truth.

For now, anyway…

7. Kenji’s Intimidation Forces Round 8 Opponent Into Hot Flashes

While Kenji may come off like the nice honest Japanese player who doesn’t let his opponents forget to pay for Pacts, I believe it’s all just a front. As seen in the photo linked above, Kenji forced his opponent into a nervous anxiety, which caused his dripping wet state.

6. My Mori’s Back He’s Gonna Save His Reputation (Hey Nannie, Nah, My Mori’s Back)

After 6 months locked in the basement of DCI prison, Mori made his triumphant return to the game in true Mori fashion, boasting healthy amounts of hair products and perfectly teased eyebrows. His expensive – and highly fashionable – clothing also earned him a 19th place finish, which puts him at 16 points on the year, giving him a pretty decent shot at staying on the train assuming he can put up any kind of performance at Daytona or Worlds (assuming he shows).

5. Amateur Status Dilemma

Out of the large number of active Magic players, very few of them are willing to take the financial burden and travel to a Grand Prix event. The truth is that amateurs just aren’t holding their weight anymore, and are struggling to put some of their own in the Top 8. A couple of years ago it was almost too frequent that several amateur players would sneak into the Top 8, claiming more cash prize that the eventual winner. To combat this problem – and to give back to the people who bite the bullet and make the decision to travel – Wizards raised the pay structure, but at the same time chose to broaden the title of amateur status. Now you are considered an amateur if you haven’t received any pro points from a Pro Tour.

One would think that this would only increase the number of amateurs infiltrating to top ranks, but in fact quite the opposite is happening. In the past four Grand Prix events, excluding Brisbane because of mis-recording, there have been a total of two amateur prizes handed out in the Top 8 of all four tournaments.


In one case the top amateur was in 13th place, and he took home a purse the same size of the finalist from that tournament… in another, 11th was the highest. This may not seem like a big problem now, but if the pros continue to beat the snot out of all these amateurs, and the amateurs keep losing their amateur status, eventually we will end up with some schmuck who missed Top 32 taking home $1,600 cash money. I don’t have anything against amateurs… after all, I claimed top amateur prize myself… but there is something a little unsettling about someone who finished 13th place taking home more than everyone else in the tournament excluding the finalists.

The solution?

No clue. I’ll leave it up to smarter minds to deliberate.

This also could just be a random occurrence, and is a extremely small sampling considering the history of Grand Prix, so only time will tell if this trend continues. Just be sure to check for amateurs at GP: Daytona this weekend.

4. UGw TarmoFoot (I ran out of interesting topics)

So this is the updated version. The mana is a bit painful compared to some of the other decks in the format, and coupled with Psionic Blast you will simply take a little too much damage for my taste. The power of the deck also wasn’t increased significantly, since you also lose some options with the loss of Cryptic Command. All in all, I like the previous version better… however, I do very much like the idea of having Teferi’s Moat and Mystic Enforcer. The Moat deals with Elves and Goblins better than any other card in the format, and Enforcer gives you an evasive and near unkillable way to bash your opponent’s skull. Perhaps a UGW control deck would be better suited for the timeshifted pair. You could keep the counters, cut the chalky creatures, and have a bit better manabase, since you don’t need to have Green mana early on.

Hmmm… perhaps…

3. Player of the Year Race Rises To Boiling Temperatures

Saito — 60
Kurihara — 55
Kenji — 55
GWT — 52
Olivier — 50
Cheon — 49

It seems like whenever Kurihara or Kenji seem to catch up to Saito, he has a quiet two-point performance to keep his distance. Now there is a small five-point cushion between Kenji, Kurihara, and Saito, which makes this race one of the closer ones in recent memory. The last time three players were holding so tight together was when Oiso, Kenji, and Ruel battled their hearts out in 2005, where Kenji hoisted the trophy.

The even more impressive factor about this race is that Guillaume, Olivier, and Cheon all have realistic chances to overthrow the Japanese trio given a well above average performance at Worlds.

2. The Rise of Iyanaga

Given the current chaotic state of Magic and all the super stars coming into their own, posting back-to-back GP Top 8s in the same format will often be stuffed under the rug, but not in this column. Junya Iyanaga did precisely that, posting two Top 8s in the past few weekends, including a win at Kitakygrbwu. While I haven’t seen him play personally, his poise and excellent posture from the pictures I’ve seen remind me of the masterful Guillaume Wafo-Tapa. Sadin hinted at Iyanaga’s potential in his article earlier this week, so this could very well be the POY next year given the Japanese trend. Now all he has to do is team with Saito or Kaji at the next team Pro Tour.

1. #21

Olivier had to wait exactly eight months to go from nineteen to twenty Grand Prix Top 8s, and in true Raphael Levy form he only had to wait a week to tie for the all-time record of twenty-one. So the real question here is how long before Olivier overcomes current GP: King Alex Shvartsman and take the crown for himself? I’m gonna go out on a limb and give an over/under of three months, leaning toward to under. With Olivier Ruel claiming Level 6 benefits for the second time in his career, he will take where he left off a year and a half ago and attend every tournament at which Wizards will be offering pro points next year, meaning it’s only a matter of time before he will finally be the best GP player in the history of Magic. This is good for the game, and he would make a fine candidate for a “Ask Jereon” type article given his experience, if one ever sprouts up again.

Looking into it further, even when Olivier does overcome Shvartsman, it’s still hard to call him the GP King. While Olivier has averaged a little over two per season, let’s not forget about that two year span from 00-02 where Shvartsman took down fifteen Grand Prix Top 8 checks.

Fifteen… eight in 00-01, and another seven in the following season of 01-02.


That’s more GP Top 8s in two years than most people have PTQ Top 8s in their lifetime.

Oli is great and all, but if I had to vote on one of the most impressive feats in the history of Magic I’d… well, I’d put Budde first for his PT success. But is Shvartsman next in line?

I dunno, I feel like this one is a coin flip…

Heads = Oli
Tails = Shvartsman

To make it fair, we’ll do best of five.

The first flip spins off the tip of my thumb’s fingernail, twirling about in the air, flickering as the light shimmers off each sterling side. I catch it in the palm of my hand mid-air, slamming it on the back of my left hand.


The next, much less dramatic, flip came up tails as well.

Down 0-2, Olivier will have to rally to beat the worn veteran.

I miss the catch and the coin spins wildly out of control, plummeting to the ground creating a resonating ting.

Tails, but I feel this situation constitutes a re-flip, given that I didn’t catch it in my hand and it landed in a zone different from the previous two flips, which would add in an unexpected variable on the proper amount of rotation of the coin.

The next flip I didn’t miss and closed my eyes briefly before opening them to the polished head of George Washington.

Could Olivier really do it? Could he rise from down two flips and claim the title of GP King?


Next one was tails, but at least he put up a somewhat reasonable fight.

That’s it for the Kittahahjakcybyabubyu 10… stay tuned for next week, with an inside view at the Daytona happenings.

Thanks for reading,


Top 5 Picks

1) The Mistress Witch From Mclure (Or The Mind That Knows Itself) – Sufjan Stevens
2) Middleman – Bright Eyes
3) Isis – Yeah Yeah Yeahs
4) LNK Blues – Robert Glasper Trio
5) A Little Bit Of Something — Lovethugs